Do you miss opening and holding the door for the ladies? Pouring them their favorite cup of tea or mug of beer? Holding their hand as you both cross the street? Helping them with their bags or even heavy luggage?
Your mama must have raised you well enough that these things come naturally to you, enough that you feel a hole now that you can’t do that anymore, or at least, feel awkward as to how to proceed. However, you don’t have to worry – being a gentleman goes beyond the things that need your physical touch. Here are some ways you can still continue to conduct yourself with courtesy – ways to soothe you so that you can remain your best self among the ladies, even during the pandemic:
1. Ask them what they need.
You can still ask your lady friends what they need from you, and what they would feel comfortable that you do – for example, carrying their things, opening the door and helping them with other heavy objects. As long as you both are practicing proper hygiene and are refraining from touching your face, and you have clearance as to the assistance you can continue to lend, then you can still help them with their paraphernalia.
If they tell you that they’d rather you refrain from as much physical contact as possible, then respect their wishes and align your manners accordingly.
2. Practice proper hygiene.
You yourself should make sure that you are practicing proper hygiene whenever you are out or are interacting with others. Wear a mask over your nose and mouth, wear a face shield for extra protection, wash your hands regularly and especially before and after touching various items, and disinfect your hard surfaces whenever necessary.
3. Keep yourself groomed.
Keep your hair fixed and out of your face, trim your beard, wear clean clothes, have your footwear cleaned regularly and leave them outside the house if possible. This is just to lend extra courtesy to the people you have to interact with on a daily basis.
4. Wear gloves.
If you are in the food service industry, or are in other businesses of hospitality, make sure to wear gloves or have your employees wear them before and after handling different clients. This will make everyone extra protected from further contamination.
5. Make eye contact and greet with a confident stance.
It may be best to do away with the handshakes for now, especially with people you are meeting for the first time. Master the art of a confident nod and established eye contact to replace the usual expected civilities of shaking other people’s hands.
6. Dress properly.
A gentleman always presents himself in the best possible way. Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean you have the license to be sloppy in your suit. Come showered, dressed properly for the occasion, with clean footwear and clean spectacles, and let your lady, or any companion for that matter, be proud to walk beside you. It’s a minimal way to show that you value their company and want them to derive pleasure from your presence.
These are just some ways you can continue being a gentleman, even during the pandemic. Remember that chivalry is really all about courtesy – it’s about treating others the way they want to be treated, in the best and most respectful way. There are many ways you can continue to do this, even without the element of physical touch.